Roof De-icing cable under PT deck?

Old 11-17-15, 07:52 AM
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Roof De-icing cable under PT deck?

Just built a new pt deck and will not have time to seal it before winter. I do not want to spread rock salt on it this winter. Has anyone used a roof de-icing cable stapled (and/or foil tape) underneath the boards of the deck to maintain a constant temperature and prevent ice? Obviously I will still need to shovel snow from the deck I've used the cables for the roof and they work well. The cable does not put out enough heat to present a fire hazard if the cable is in good condition. It will be plugged into a GFCI. The additional cost to my electric bill is minimal.

Is there anything I'm not taking into consideration thinking this is a good resolution? Can I damage the pt planks?

The deck is our primary access to the house from the garage.
Old 11-17-15, 08:32 AM
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Roof deicing cable is only about 5 watts/foot and is designed to just maintain a free flowing path for water, not clear large areas of snow. It just doesn't get that hot. I don't think it will work at all through the thickness of typical PT deck as wood does have some insulation value. Even if it was on top I think you'd just have little channels clear right over the cable and snow everywhere else. That's what happens on the roof once temp drops low.
Old 11-17-15, 09:13 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Can I damage the pt planks?
I would doubt it... but as Carbide mentioned.... it isn't going to produce enough heat to be effective.

If you were to install a lot of the cable it may become useful but will cost a fortune to run it.
Old 11-17-15, 11:06 AM
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It's pressure treated and you plan to shovel the snow off of it. Why overthink it?

Next spring give it a quick cleaning and then stain it.

Rock salt or deicer is not a good idea.
Old 11-17-15, 12:19 PM
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No snow where I am so can't comment on that but it is common not to finish PT decks or fences in my area though I have learned from reading it is common in other areas. If they go years here without being finished I can't see why a winter would hurt. PT docks in salt water aren't usually finished either as far as I know. I'm wondering if the finish is mostly for looks.
Old 11-18-15, 06:01 PM
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can you get a tarp big enough to cover the deck? you'll want to lay some kind of outdoor rugs or astroturf over that in an area at least enough to have a walkable path since just the tarp will probably get slick after a freeze. If there's enough space/air under the deck to get that wiring installed, having the top and sides covered should keep it relatively dry.

Depending on the kind of finish you want to do, you might be able to do a quick coat of linseed oil to protect it through the winter. That will limit your options for a final finish, but that's only a problem if your current plan isn't within those limits.

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